Posted by & filed under Noah's Notes.

September is National Recovery month and a fitting time to think about our the challenges we face in our country and our region related to substance abuse, to recognize the great work and resources we have and are building to meet this challenge, and to celebrate and support the people who are succeeding in recovery.

This observance, initiated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is in its 28th year.

Some key facts that illustrate the importance of each of us improving our understanding of the problem and learning more about potential solutions:

  • 1 in 10 adults in the US is in recovery from alcohol or drug use.
  • 21 million Americans suffer with addiction (called a Use Disorder) and 17 million of those involve alcohol.
  • In Maine, as in all of the US, alcohol is by far the most misused substance.
  • Excessive alcohol use cost Maine nearly $939 million in 2010.
  • Alcohol abuse and dependence appears to be increasing, especially among women and elders.
  • We continue to lose an average of 1 person per day to overdose.

In Maine and locally we have a number of resources available but there is much more work to be done.

  • The Lunder Dineen Health Education Alliance of Maine has worked with experts from across the state to develop the Time To Ask initiative, a pilot to improve primary care based screening for alcohol addiction and “at risk” use of alcohol. This will be accomplished through care team education and support, the use of evidence based screening tools, addressing shame and stigma, and making those conversations a routine part of health care.
  • Wellspring is helping raise awareness with its 5K Race for Recovery on September 17 at the Bangor Waterfront.
  • Wellspring will be opening the state’s first social detox center later this fall.
  • The Bangor Area Recovery Network (BARN) provides a sustainable and reliable community recovery center that supports the needs of people affected by addiction.
  • PCHC is engaged with a National Institute for Drug Abuse study, partnered with Dartmouth and NYU, of the use of a new screening tool for substance abuse.
  • PCHC is actively working with regional healthcare partners to expand access to treatment for Opioid Use Disorder.

To learn more about this critical public health issue you can visit these sites:

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Noah Nesin, MD

Dr. Nesin, Vice President of Medical Affairs for PCHC, is a family doctor with 30 years of experience.

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